A team of five salvage experts boarded the grounded drilling unit Kulluk
earlier Wednesday to conduct a structural assessment to be used to finalize salvage plans.
The rig went aground on Sitkalidak Island on New Year's Eve after towing lines broke during heavy seas.
The salvage team was lowered to the Kulluk
by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and stayed for about three hours.
Smit Salvage is heading up the operation. Smit has assisted in hundreds of salvages worldwide, including the bulker Selendang Ayu
that took place off the coast of Western Unalaska in 2004.
Shell said information gained from the on-site assessment will be used to evaluate available options for freeing the rig from its grounded position. - Chris Dupin